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Swedish cheesecake – Småländsk ostkaka

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Swedish cheesecake with whipped cream, blackberries and jam.

I know, I know. The photo is really bad and doesn’t do this dessert any justice. This Swedish cheesecake, originating from the province of Småland, is probably far from any cheesecake you’ve ever had. It’s not at all like the smooth biscuit based New York cheesecake. This cheesecake is grainy, full of toasted chopped almonds and has a very vague taste of bitter almond. And it’s absolutely lovely! Serve it lukewarm with berries, jam and whipped cream. This cheesecake needs to be served directly from the pan it was baked in as it’s not really sliceable.

To make Swedish cheesecake you need to make your own cheese, but don’t let that scare you off. You’ll need rennet and in Sweden you’ll always find it at the pharmacy. If I’m not wrong, bitter almonds are banned in the US. They are poisonous, but only in very large quantities so don’t worry as they are very common in European baking. If you live in the US you can substitute with almond extract.

    Småländsk ostkaka – Swedish cheesecake from Småland
    (Based on a Gert Klötzke recipe. I significantly increased the amount of almonds, increased the amount of egg and used vanilla infused sugar).
    Serves 6-8

    Day 1:
    3 litres of milk (at least 3 % fat)
    75 g flour
    2 tsp rennet
    Day 2:
    400 ml double cream
    3 eggs
    90 gram sugar (vanilla infused).
    2 small bitter almonds, finely grated
    100 gram blanched almonds, roasted and chopped

    Mix 200 ml milk with flour and rennet to a smooth batter. In a big pan, heat the rest of the milk to 35 degrees C. Add the flour mixture and stir until it reaches 37 degrees C. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Carefully separate the whey from the cheese using a very fine sieve and/or cheese cloth. Let it continue to drain in the fridge over night.

    The next day combine the cheese with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter into a buttered pan. Bake the cheesecake in 165 degrees C until it has a nice and golden colour, approximately 30-40 minutes. Make sure it’s completely baked but not overbaked.

    Serve lukewarm with jam, berries and whipped cream.

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake pops

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day.

This month’s challenge was to bake Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I love cheesecake but I didn’t find this specific cheesecake recipe to be the perfect one, but it was good. The recipe is straith forward and I didn’t encounter any problems. I did a half batch and ended up with 14 cheesecake pops. I added a bit lemon to the batter and I omited shortening in the chocolate. For coating I used different sanding sugars, chopped hazelnuts, chopped Toblerone and chopped Daim. The pops would be perfect for a party as they are so pretty and as they are so sweet (depending on chosen coating) one is enough to eat. A tip would be to make a few pops next time you have some left over cheesecake.

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006


Just minutes after this photo was taken, this piece of Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie ended up in my husband’s stomach :-)
I found this fantastic recipe at a Polish food forum which I read from time to time. The recipe was originally posted in the March 2003 edition of Delicious magazine. It seemed to be a success according to the forum writers so I decided to email the recipe to my mother. When she finally answered my email she included a photo of a freshly baked raspberry cheesecake brownie and the word “wonderful”. So of course I had to make it myself as well. Again we have the lovely combination with dark chocolate and raspberries which is just perfect. The recipe is easy to follow, but I decided to reduce the amount of sugar and almost doubled the amount of raspberries. And as always I substituted cream cheese with Kesella gourmet. Lovely lovely, but now I have to stop writing and get another piece…

    Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

    200 gram dark chocolate
    200 gram butter, softened
    220 gram + 130 gram caster sugar
    5 eggs
    110 gram plain flour
    400 gram cream cheese (I used Kesella 10% as I prefer quark, add 1.5 tbsp flour if you use Kesella)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    200 gram fresh raspberries (frozen ones work as well)

    Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and line a 20 X 30cm lamington pan. Melt chocolate in bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly. Cream butter and 220g of the caster sugar until pale, then add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour. Spread 3/4 of the mixture into the pan. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, 130g sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Spread over chocolate base. Dollop remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer and swirl the chocolate. Poke raspberries into the top and bake 40-45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Tiramisù Cheesecake, 2nd attempt

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

As some of you know, I baked a Tiramusù Cheesecake last week. I was dissapointed with the taste, because I follwed the original recipe and used Philadelphia Cheese instead of quark and too bitter dark chocolate. So I made it again, this time with quark and less bitter chocolate. For my views regarding cheesecakes, just read the first attempt on this cheesecake. Most people would probably love the first cheesecake with Philadelphia cheese, but I didn’t like it at all.

This time the result was just PERFECT, light and fluffy and no saltiness at all. It crumbles a bit when slicing it, but that’s probably because of the recipe not being completely adapted to quark. All Americans can continue using Philadelphia Cheese and I will continue with quark instead, at least I’ve tried the other variant :-)

    Tiramisù Cheesecake
    (adapted from Maxine Clarke’s book Cheesecakes)

    Crust:
    275 gr Amaretti Biscotti ( I used Swedish Mandelbiskvier as my store didn’t have these).
    75 gr unsalted butter
    Filling:
    750 gr Kesella 10% (quark)
    2 dl sugar
    3 eggs, separate the yolk and eggwhite
    0.5 dl flour + 1 tbsp flour
    0.5 vanilla pod
    175 gr Marabou Dark Chocolate, melted
    3 tablespoons of Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
    Oven temperature: 200 degrees Celsius.

    Using a food processor or blender, process the biscottis to fine crumbs. Melt the butter and combine with the crumbs. Press into a springform pan and put the pan into the fridge for 30 minutes.Beat the quark and sugar, using a food processor. Add the egg yolks. Transfer half of the batter to another bowl. Add melted chocolate and coffee liqueur to the batter in the first bowl; stir until well blended and then add 1 tbsp of flour. To the second bowl, add 0.5 dl flour and the interior of the vanilla pod. Beat the eggwhites until they form stiff firm peaks. Combine half of the egg whites with the white filling and half with the chocolate filling. Pour the two fillings into the crust, taking turns so that you form a nice pattern. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until sides puff slightly and center is softly set but still appears moist. Turn oven off. Allow cheesecake to cool in the oven with oven door ajar. When cheesecake is completely cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

What’s baking? 2nd attempt

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

OK, it’s in the oven… My second attempt with the Tiramisù cheesecake, this time with quark and a mixture of less dark chocolate than the last time together with a small amount of milk chocolate. No espresso coffee this time and more sugar. Keep your fingers crossed :-)

Tiramisù Cheesecake (updated…)

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

Yesterday when I started to bake the Tiramisù Cheesecake from Maxine Clark’s book Cheesecakes I was so excited, it was going to be perfect. I bought the book just the other day and finally decided to try the Tiramisù Cheesecake. Today, after tasting it, I’m dissapointed. Have you ever baked or cooked something that you had high expectations of that didn’t turn out that great? Well, then you understand how I feel. I love cheesecakes, both cold and baked ones. This could be perfect, but the chocolate that I used was too dark and too bitter (72 % cocoa) for this recipe. Honestly I don’t even like dark chocolate, I’m like a kid and only eat milk chocolate. But even Fredrik, aka the chocolate lover, thinks that the chocolate used for the cheesecake doesn’t fit. One other negative thing was the Philadelphia cheese, I discovered that I don’t like Philadelphia cheese in cheesecakes, I think that it’s too salty. I prefer “natural” fresh cheese, like Swedish Kesella (quark) or Italian Mascarpone. I know that many people use Philadelphia cheese in cheesecakes, but I don’t think that I will use it more times (exept for bagels and sandwiches of course), it’s something with the taste and the salt. The texture of the cheesecake is perfect, but as I wrote earlier it’s just too bitter. I’m sorry, but I wont’ share this recipe with you. Maybe I’ll modify it and give it a new try some other time. But at least the cheesecake looks pretty.

Updated September 2nd 2005:
I just thought that I would add some words about me not liking cream cheese/Philadelphia cheese in Cheesecakes. There’s a big difference between American and eastern European Cheesecakes. The American ones are generally made with cream cheese. The eastern European ones have always traditionally been made with quark. Quark is white fresh cheese which is mildly tangy, smooth and creamy.

I was born in Sweden but my parents are from Poland, so I am raised with typical Polish food, but my mother also loved to experiment and try other culture’s recipes. When I was young, my mother made her own quark that she used in all cheesecakes that she made. Nowadays she uses the Swedish quark Kesella instead, as it’s much easier. I am used to, and truly love thoose quark cheesecakes. There’s a big difference in taste depending on which kind of cheese you use, and I just prefer the quark version.

What’s baking?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Right now I have a Tiramisù cheesecake in the oven. Review, recipe and thoughts will come tomorrow evening. I’m really excited, to bad that it has to rest for a few hours after baking….